Monday Musings 4/20/2015: How To Make A Survival Still

How to make a survival still1

This post is by Bernie Carr,

Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links about all things preparedness, as well as updates on the blog.

First the blog updates…

The Penny Pincher Prepper pic

My next book is off to the publisher!  I sent the final chapters of my upcoming book  The Penny-Pincher Prepper: Save More, Spend Less and Get Prepared for Any Disaster to the publisher.  The book is for anyone who has wondered how to be prepared on a small budget.  The book is due out this October.  

I’m sure there will be lots more work up ahead but I am relieved to be over the bulk of it.  Now I get to spend more time writing the blog!

Who won Prepper’s Financial Guide?   Jennifer won the drawing and she had the following comment:

What are my concerns about an economic collapse? While a resident of Texas I lived through Hurricane Ike, and suffered major damage to my home. Fortunately we had financial reserves to begin rebuilding, even before the insurance company did its survey. I am most concerned about the vulnerability of the supply chain. We had 8 days notice of the hurricane, and we’re well prepared anyway. But in the last hours I decided I wanted more dog food, the Walmart was bare. When the power went out, my well pump did as well. Got the generator going to preserve meds and a small room for cooling, hooked a hand pump to the well. We were okay, but were clogged by “friendly neighbors” with zero clue about self care. I’m only as secure as those around me. We went through our charity supplies in hours. Always thought I’d have trade items, the neighbors had NOTHING to trade. Always looks for new information. I learn through good choices and mistakes. Thank you, eager to hear perspectives.

Survival Still project

I’m always on the lookout for projects that don’t require a lot of special tools and equipment for those of us who are space challenged.  This video on how to make a survival still that fits in a bug-out bag is by far the simplest one that I’ve seen.  Take a look and drop me a line if you are going to try it.

Make a Survival Still for Drinkable Water (improved design)

Now for the links…

13 Ways to Save Money and Protect the Planet at the Same Time

12 Survival Lessons from Ukraine: “Nothing Provides as Much Valuable Information as Real World Situations”

The Coming Disastrous Global Crisis

The One Item an Expert Hunting Guide Says You Must Always Carry With You

Stacking Silver = Simple Solution

Jobs In Hard Times

Take care and have a great week everyone!

© Apartment Prepper 2015

Can You Get Arrested for Carrying a Knife?

Can you get arrested for carrying a knife

This post is by Bernie Carr,

One of the most discussed pieces of gear in prepper sites is the knife.  On any given day, you will find knife reviews, benefits of carrying knifes and knives for everyday carry (EDC).  After moving to Texas several years ago, we noticed a lot of people carry knives on a daily basis and we thought, “What a great idea!”  and started carrying one ourselves.  However this is not the case in many states.  Some people are afraid of knives and feel they are deadly weapons.  In some states, you can get arrested if found with certain types of knives.  Short blade pocket knives are generally legal.  I started wondering just exactly what type of knives will get you in trouble.

The answer, it turns out, is not so cut and dried.  It varies in each state.  Some states allow up to a certain blade length, while others prohibit specific types of knives.

Also, there is a difference between “owning” a knife versus “carrying” it.  You can own a knife and leave it at home or in a display case, and you won’t run afoul of the law, but the minute you carry it somewhere, you may be in trouble.  For example, in Texas, it is illegal to own a “gravity knife”  (a knife that has a blade in its handle that can be opened by inertia or gravity, designed to be opened or closed one handed).  However, under the Texas penal code, there are knives you can own but fall under “Unlawful Carrying

“Illegal knife” means a:
(A) knife with a blade over five and one-half inches;
(B) hand instrument designed to cut or stab another by
being thrown;
(C) dagger, including but not limited to a dirk, stiletto,
and poniard;
(D) sword; or
(E) spear.
(7) “Knife” means any bladed hand instrument that is capable
of inflicting serious bodily injury or death by cutting or
stabbing a person with the instrument.

From this definition, it is unlawful to carry any knife with a blade over 5.5 inches long, throwing knives or stars, dirks, daggers, stilettos, and other stabbing knives, bowie knives, swords, or spears.

However, in Los Angeles County, California, the 5.5 rule is way over their limit:  you would run afoul of the law in many that prohibit fixed blades of 3 inches or more.

A good resource for finding out each state’s laws regarding knives is the American Knife and Tool Institute (AKTI) website:

Federal law prohibits transportation and sale of ballistic knives across state lines. A ballistic knife is a knife with a blade that can be fired as a projectile.  Also the TSA bans knives, utility blades, razor blades, swords in airplanes.  When flying domestically, you can keep a knife in your checked luggage as long as it is sheathed, or securely wrapped.

Areas where you must not carry a knife:

  • schools
  • school bus
  • courthouse
  • airport
  • polling places

What if you get stopped by the police and you have a knife?

I am not an attorney, or an expert on knife laws, but from what I read in my research:

  • Be courteous and calm.
  • You can state your name and address, but politely ask for a lawyer immediately.
  • Do not consent to a search, or agree to waive any other rights.
  • Do not give any other information about what your knife is for, why you are carrying it, but keep asking for a lawyer.

In answer to the original question, “Can you be arrested for carrying a knife?” The answer is “Yes, but it varies by state.”  To be on the safe side, you should be aware of federal, state, and local knife laws before choosing a knife.
© Apartment Prepper 2015

10 Household Items You Can Make at Home

10 household items you can make at homeSince I started writing this blog, I’ve encouraged my readers to take small steps to becoming more self sufficient.  Being able to make things yourself helps you save time, money and allows you to be less dependent on store bought items.  Living in a small space should not stop you from trying do it yourself projects.  That’s why I enjoyed this article from LeAnn who writes The Homestead Dreamer.

10 Things I Stopped Buying at the Store  by LeAnn, The Homestead Dreamer

We have made a lot of small changes in our lifestyle over the last two years or so. At the time, it doesn’t seem like much of a big deal but then six months pass and you realize how much your routine has changed. One of our big overall goals is to buy less pre-packaged items and make our own as much as possible. While we do have to buy the whole foods to then process ourselves (for no man is an island!), there are several things I realized that I stopped buying at the store all together.Instead, we make it ourselves and end up with a superior food for less money.

Many people argue that the prices you pay at the grocery store are for the convenience of not having to make it yourself from scratch. In some ways they would be right but honestly, I’d just be sitting on my duff watching TV and being a ‘zombie’ like the majority of Americans. I prefer to be productive and would rather spend 2 hours making up some tasty food and preserving it than watching “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” and have the intelligence sucked out of my brain. We work every day to be more self sufficient and produce (or learn how to) as much of our needs as possible.

  1. Crackers – Crackers were one of the first things I decided I would no longer buy. It is incredible how many crackers you can make out of one cup of flour! That cup of flour (with other ingredients) was enough for 4 people to eat stew with and no one was left wanting. We have enjoyed plain whole wheat or white flour crackers but the real fun is when you add in spices to compliment the meal. One of our favorites is the garlic/oregano crackers but I have also made them with garlic, onion, and basil mixed in. Pepper crackers were kind of a fun twist but it is easy to go overboard on the pepper. One of my most popular posts to date, How To Make Crackers in 20 Minutes, will show you how to make your own, too!

Read the rest of the article by clicking on this link:  10 Things I Stopped Buying at the Store

Monday Musings 4/13/2015: Have you Read the Special Newsweek Off Grid Edition?

Off Grid

This post is by Bernie Carr,
Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links about all things preparedness, as well as updates on the blog.

First the blog updates…

Special Newsweek Off Grid Edition

I received a copy of the special Newsweek Off Grid Edition.  I was surprised a mainstream magazine actually dedicated a whole issue to preparedness and survival.  The issue itself consists of high quality photographs in glossy paper, and features several interesting articles on various aspects of survival:  shelter, fire, food, water, communications and more.  The Introduction was by Survivorman Les Stroud whom I highly respect as a survival expert.  It also features our own Survivor Jane in “Prepping for Doomsday,” which gave a good background on preparedness.  I also enjoyed the article “16 Lifesaving Special Ops Tips,” among others.

The Off Grid Edition is mainly geared for people who have never considered or just getting interested in survival or preparing for disasters.  I like that it dispels myths about preppers and offers many practical tips.  It would make a good coffee table magazine and a great conversation starter.  Pick up a few issues to give out to your non-prepper friends and relatives, and keep one for yourself as well.

Worried about an Economic Collapse?

You still have time to enter and win a copy of Prepper’s Financial Guide by Jim Cobb.  See Prepper’s Financial Guide: Review and Giveaway

Now for the links…

Essential Oils for Preparedness PDF and Podcast Part 1 and Part 2

12 Bad Strategies That Will Get Preppers Killed

Lesson’s Our Family Learned Before, During, and After a Hurricane…..


© Apartment Prepper 2015

Disclosure: This is a professional review site that sometimes receives free merchandise from the companies whose products we review and recommend. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Prepper’s Financial Guide: Review and Giveaway

Preppers Financial Guide

This post is by Bernie Carr,

Today we are featuring Prepper’s Financial Guide by Jim Cobb.  We have featured Jim Cobb in a previous interviews and book reviews.  He has written several books on preparedness and I am glad to review his latest book.

Prepper’s Financial Guide has great information for anyone with any concerns about an economic collapse, whether it’s in the aftermath of a natural disaster or a series of financial missteps.  The book covers practical, actionable strategies that an average person can implement in various financial areas:  reducing debt, investing in precious metals and foreign currencies, securing your possessions, becoming more self-sufficient and more.

Just as being prepared for disasters with water, food, shelter and supplies just makes good sense, taking the steps outlined in the book toward financial preparedness will help you hedge against financial threats whether they occur as widespread collapse or a personal one.  Even if nothing happens, the suggestions in the book would still help you reap benefits.

Prepper’s Financial Guide is a good addition to your preparedness library – get your copy and begin securing your finances.

Now for the giveaway:
I am happy to add that Ulysses Press is providing a copy to our readers as a giveaway.  One lucky winner will be chosen via a random drawing.  To enter, please answer the following questions in the comments:
Are you concerned about an economic collapse?  What aspect of your finances are you most insecure about at this time? 
The winner* will be chosen at a random “Pick a Giveaway Winner” drawing on Saturday, April 18 at 8 pm Central.

*Winners will be notified via email. 

*Winner must reply to email notification within 48 hours or another winner will be drawn.

© Apartment Prepper 2015

Take control of your financial future!

Disclosure: This is a professional review site that sometimes receives free merchandise from the companies whose products we review and recommend. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Insta Natural Lavender and Peppermint Essential Oil Review

Natural Products Inc Lavender OilI received review samples of Insta Natural Lavender Essential Oil and Peppermint Essential oil.

The first thing I noticed when I received the packages was the fragrance emanating from the boxes.  At first I thought the bottles may have leaked but upon close inspection, I found they were tightly packaged in plastic bubble wrap and there were no leaks at all.  These oils are just very concentrated and pure.

I tried the Lavender essential oil for making a sea salt scrub.  I mixed a cup of sea salt, coconut oil and __ drops of the lavender oil.  It smelled lovely!  The scent is very clean and relaxing.  I should point out this oil is for external use only.

Peppermint Essential Oil

I then tried the Insta Natural Peppermint Essential Oil for making my deodorant spray.  The scent is very potent therefore you only need to use very little.  At 4 oz., this bottle will go a long way.  Again, this is for external use only.  I would use these oils for making personal care products such as salves, sprays or scrubs.  All in all these oils are a good value for the cost.

Disclosure: This is a professional review site that sometimes receives free merchandise from the companies whose products we review and recommend. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

10 Ways to Avoid Wasting Bread

10 ways to avoid wasting breadLiving in a hot and humid climate, I noticed that bread goes stale a lot quicker than when a lived in a dry area.   I always feel bad having to throw out stale bread so I started finding ways to make it last longer or re-purpose it.  Here are a few ways that have worked well for me:

  1.  Freeze it  If I have extra, I just keep a few slices on the counter and freeze the rest.  I thought I’d be able to tell the difference in quality but there really was no noticeable difference in taste or texture after it was thawed.
  2.  Refrigerate and Toast it
    I also tried storing bread in the fridge.  I did notice a difference in the texture – it gets a bit harder, but if you toast the bread, then no one can tell.
  3. Make croutons  It is very easy to make croutons.  Just slice the bread in squares, toss with a teaspoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Garlic and onion powder also add a nice flavor.  Bake at 375°, mixing them occasionally, around 10-15 minutes or until they turn golden.
  4. Garlic Bread Sticks    Butter the bread slices.  Season with garlic salt.  Slice the bread into 1 inch wide strips.  Bake at 375°, mixing them occasionally, around 10 minutes.  The butter seems to make them darken a bit quicker than olive oil.  Serve with your favorite pasta dish.
  5. Bread crumbs
    Freeze leftover bread before it goes stale.  Once you have enough pieces to make a batch, bake them in the oven at 250-300 for 10-15 minutes.  Place in a blender or food processor.  I’ve even used a cheese grater to make bread crumbs when I didn’t have either one and it worked.
  6. Grilled cheese sandwiches    I learned how to make grilled cheese sandwiches watching hospital cafeteria workers in one of my first jobs.  Toast two pieces of bread lightly first. Then add a tablespoon of butter to the pan or grill.  Place cheddar cheese in between the bread and brown both sides of the sandwich in the pan.  Serve with a slice of tomato and pickles.
  7. Stretch ground beef for hamburger, meatloaf or meatballs.
  8. French toast   Lightly toast the bread.   Scramble an egg and add cinnamon, vanilla and a tablespoon of milk.  Dip the toasted bread in the egg until it is moistened, and fry in a buttered pan.  It is ready when it is golden brown.  Serve with maple or pancake syrup.
  9. Thicken soups  You can add pieces of bread into any soup to thicken the consistency.
  10. Feed the birds  If you no longer want to eat it, cut bread in small pieces and use as bird feed.

I know there are many more uses for bread, such as making bread pudding, or French onion soup, etc.  but these are the ones I have tried.


Happy Easter Everyone!

Happy Easter

Psalm 71

In you, O LORD, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me, and deliver me;
incline your ear to me, and save me.
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked.
For you are my hope, O Lord;
my trust, O God, from my youth.
On you I depend from birth;
from my mother’s womb you are my strength.


I’d like to wish everyone all the joy and hope that Easter brings.

Bugging Out with Your Pet

Bugging out with your pet

It is a sad fact that many pets get separated from their owners in the aftermath of a disaster, as we have found out from many accounts after Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, Japan earthquake and many others.  Many pets become injured, lost or killed during the chaos of a disaster.  The family may have the best of intentions, but may not have control over events that befall them.  That is why it is important to include pets in your emergency plans.

What to do when bugging out with your pet

The article below, written by The Tenth Man of A Bug Out Bag List includes in depth details about how to plan ahead for your pet’s safety and supplies to minimize any difficulties when bugging out with pets.

Preppers List: The Pet Bug Out Bag (BOB) List

by The Tenth Man

Our pets are part of our family.  If you share this sentiment, you are not alone. According to a  Harris poll,  9 in 10 pet owners consider their pets to be family. This is why we worry about their well-being especially when we are away from them for any extended period of time.Like you, I also consider my dog to be an important family member. In fact, my toy poodle brings great joy to my children and pleasure to my wife. I know it would be extremely difficult for us if something unfortunate was to happen to him.

I am certain many of you feel the same way about your pet as we do. Many of us however sometimes take our pets for granted and fail to plan for their needs during an unexpected crisis or natural disaster.  Hurricane Katrina is a good example of owners failing to prepare to protect their pets. Although over 15,000 pets were rescued with 3,000 of them reunited with their families, tens of thousands were killed or left homeless.

For the most part, it is an unintentional and innocent oversight on our part  that places our beloved pet(s) in harms way. Luckily, this type of mindset can be corrected. This is why I created both a Pet BOB Guide and  a Pet BOB List below for you to utilize and more importantly take action!

Pet BOB Buying GuideTop 5

In creating the TOP 5 Pet ready-made BOBs guide, I utilize the information from the Pet Bug Out Bag (Pet BOB) list to review, calculate and rate the effectiveness and completeness of the ready made Pet BOBs found  marketed on Amazon; one of the largest retailer in the US.  Using the Pet BOB list below in combination with this buying guide, you will be able to effectively supplement emergency preparedness supplies that might be missing in your selected ready-made bag and purchase these additional items along with your Amazon order.

Read the rest of the article by clicking here:

Preppers List: The Pet Bug Out Bag (BOB) List

Take control of your financial future!

Monday Musings: 3/30/2014 Spam Teriyaki Review

Spam Teriyaki Review

This post is by Bernie Carr,

Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links about all things preparedness, as well as updates on the blog.

First the blog updates…

Can you believe March is almost over?  I’m already planning the April reviews and giveaways for the blog.

Spam Teriyaki Review  Spam is a great addition to the survival pantry, and I am quite fond of it for regular use.  I like the plain one the best, but also enjoy the other flavors as well – Bacon and Jalapeno.  I recently picked up a couple of new flavors:  Teriyaki and Chorizo.  We tried the Teriyaki one recently.  The short review…  not a fan.  It had a really dark color, which looked burnt by the time I cooked it thin sliced and crisp the way the family likes; it also had an artificial aftertaste which was a bit too much.  I still like Spam overall, just not the Teriyaki flavored ones.   I will let you know how the Chorizo one turns out.

Making my own sprays and moisturizers This week I’ll be whipping up my batches of personal care items instead of buying them:  moisturizer, deodorizing spray and may try making a scrub as well.   I have these two new bottles of peppermint and lavender from Insta Natural that I am going to try out.  As always, I will let you know how they turn out.  Having essential oils on hand gives you to freedom to make so many things that were previously store bought.

Now for the links…

The Price of Hyper-Cleanliness

37 Prepper Uses for Trash Bags

Does Cough CPR Work?

How to Plan Meals When Money is Tight

The Day and the Hour Are Unknown…But…

7 Survival Ideas You Never Thought About

12 Ways to Treat Indigestion – Naturally

Take care and have a great week everyone!

© Apartment Prepper 2015